…Why Nigerians in diaspora won’t vote in 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday gave conditions to be fulfilled before the government can go into restructuring of the country.
He pointed out that there should be proper definition of what Nigerians want before the government can delve into restructuring the country.
The President also noted that many Nigerians who have been calling for restructuring have been doing so without defining what the restructuring should be.
Buhari, who spoke during the interactive session with Nigerians living in France, was in the country for the Peace Forum attended by about 70 world leaders in Paris.
The Nigerian community, which was made up of Nigerian Diaspora Organization (NIDO), All Progressives Congress (APC) members in France, students and friends of Nigeria, asked the President questions ranging from restructuring, security, anti-corruption, education and opportunity for Nigerians in diaspora to vote in 2019 general elections.
The President said; “There are too many people talking lazily about restructuring in Nigeria. Unfortunately, people are not asking them individually what do they mean by restructuring? What form do they want restructuring to take?
“Do they want us to have something like the three regions we used to have? And now we have 36 states and the FCT. What form do they want? They are just talking loosely about restructuring.
“Let them define it and then we see how we can peacefully do it in the interest of Nigerians.
“They are just saying they want Nigeria restructured and they don’t have the clue of what the form the restructuring should be.
“So, anybody who talks to you about restructuring in Nigeria, ask him what he means and the form he wants it to take,” he stated.
He also gave reasons why Nigerians in diaspora might not vote in the 2019 general elections.
According to him, it will be very difficult for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put in place structures to accommodate them with just about three months to the 2019 elections.
Noting that the increasing Nigeria population in the diaspora supports the calls for their participation in electing Nigeria leaders, he said that it might not happen in the 2019 general elections as INEC had been more focused on strengthening and consolidating on its achievements to conduct credible elections within the country.
But he said that Nigerians in diaspora would definitely participate in future elections.
Buhari said “We want to secure the Nigeria votes first before we go foreign. We are going to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be more independent and viable …. so that they can recruit more committed and educated Nigerians to be in charge and use technologies to get the votes from all the constituencies.
“So, with the way the economy is now, I think with the elections in three months’ time, it will be very difficult for INEC and the government to organize quality survey of those that are outside,” he said.
Responding to the question on education in Nigeria, the President said that his administration is doing its best to invest more in infrastructures, education and other sectors.
The Nigerian elites, he said, disappointed Nigeria and the Nigerian masses under the sixteen years administrations of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
According to him, so much waste has gone down the drain from the huge resources earned in during the PDP administrations in the country between 1999 and 2015.
He said that there was nothing to show for the earnings including the $16 billion said to have been spent on power.
He urged Nigerian elites, both at home and diaspora, to do more in contributing to the educational sector of the country, expressing surprise that the elites tolerated the fall in standards and structures of educational institutions despite the huge oil earnings.
He said; “So, really I have seen it all and I was disappointed in the Nigerian elites. What have they done in these sixteen years?”
“What do we have with our oil production down to half a million and the price per barrel went down to about $30, what could we have done with the infrastructure?
“You should find out the damage done by the main opposition now to the economy and the integrity of the country.
“So, we are now trying to improve infrastructures and do more in education and other areas.
“We are currently reviewing investments in the entire infrastructure of the country like road, rail and power, including investing more in education. We will certainly need to do more in education,’’ he said.
He added “I am doing my best now to utilize our resources to develop the country. We are already getting results on road, rail and power. My frustration is that some people still have plenty stolen money stashed in Europe, U S and other countries.’’
According to him, return of stolen assets in some safe heavens will bolster the administration’s current effort of investing more in critical infrastructure that directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
He said that the war against terrorism will be reinforced with new weapons and hardware for the military
The challenge of abduction and kidnapping in some parts of the country, he said, will receive more attention with better gathering of intelligence.
According to him, God and technology in form of card readers and Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) won the Presidential elections for him in 2015 despite not succeeding in three earlier times.
“We campaigned on three key issues; security, improving the economy, and fighting corruption, and we have not been controverted by anyone that we have not recorded some results,’’ he said.
Speaking earlier, the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Dr. Modupe Irele, said that the Nigerian community in France had demonstrated high sense of responsibility, dedication and morality.
According to her, the large number of professionals had been encouraged to also contribute to the country’s development.
“Nigerians here are law abiding, peaceful and resourceful,’’ she said.
President Buhari’s commitment to change, she noted, will make Nigeria the envy of other African countries.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the interactive session, Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, said that it was very important for President Buhari to attend the Peace Forum in Paris.
He said “President Muhammadu Buhari has been preaching for peace, especially when he came on board, he met our country religiously and ethnically divided.
“I think it is important that he meets with other world leaders to discuss how peace can be promoted among the nations and various people of the world.
“There is no way you can promote peace where there is massive corruption. Massive corruption deprives people of development, and if there is no development, there won’t be any peace.” he said
Willy Obiano of Anambra State said that it is important for Nigeria to be emphasizing peace.
In the education sector, he said that the state has invested a lot of money into the sector in the last four years.
He said “We revamped 1482 primary and secondary schools. We have sent our teachers to Singapore and Germany for training.
“More importantly, what my administration has done in Anambra State with respect to education is to reach the … end of Anambra State.” he said
House of Reps member, Nasir Ali Ahmed, representing Nasarawa Federal constituency of Kano State, said that the interactive session was a very successful meeting.
He hoped that a lot of the Nigerians living in France will come back home to contribute their quota to Nigeria’s development.
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, recently nominated Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Diaspora Commission, who facilitated the meeting, said that a lot of Nigerians living in France are already doing many things at home for the economy.
“So, we will continue to engage with them and continue to stress the positivity about our country, Nigeria,” she said
Stressing that there are some Nigerians in prisons in France, she said that Nigerians are being encouraged to obey the laws of the land wherever they go.
She also pointed out that the new commission is not a charity organization, but aims to tap into the enormous resources of Nigerians in the diaspora.